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Woks are trending now. It looks like just about every household have some sort of wok or another. However, most of these woks are usually on the cheaper end. If you’re like me, you want the best of the best. These high end woks uses premium metal such as Copper and Stainless Steel. Unfortunately, just because theyre expensive, doesnt make them the best. This article will list some of the Most Expensive Woks and why they aren’t good as a Wok.
What is a Wok
A Wok is the iconic pan that is used in Chinese Cooking. They are versatile and are used to just do all task that would be done in the kitchen. Perhaps one of the most popular technique used in a Wok is the Stir Fry. The high intense heat caramelize the exterior developing flavor. While at the same time, the open room lets you toss it and coat it in sauce. If done properly, you can achieve something called Wok Hei.
Wok Hei is otherwise known as Breath of the Wok. It is said that Wok Hei is achieved when you toss food at the triangular upper point of the Wok. But in reality, its just ignition of oil vapor. You can actually do this with a normal pan. Just tilt the pan towards the fire, if theres a lot of oil vapor, then you should see a up spark in fire. It releases a pleasant aroma that you smell in a lot of Chinese restaurant.
There are two types of Wok, one has a two loop hand and the other uses a long handle. The Long handle models are more commonly used in Norther China where tossing and stirring is common. In the south, the two loop handle are more common. I personally find that the long handle variety to be easier to use.
Are Expensive Wok Worth It?
If they’re quality wok, then yes. However, the wok that is listed is only expensive because of the metal and brand. That doesn’t really mean that they’re good woks, they’re just expensive. Traditional Woks uses carbon steel or cast iron. These metals are actually poor conductor of heat, but because professional Chinese Chef use such intense heat, none of that matter. Plus, they develop a nonstick coating.
The expensive copper woks conducts heat really well. The bottom is flat and are more suited for the home kitchen. Since our home range heat output is so weak, we can really use the Copper thermal conductivity.
However, the major flaw that these woks have is that everything sticks. kind of throw stir fry out of the windows. You can still use it though. If you change your cook style to batch cooking, it should work. When you sear meats, let it sit until it lifts off. Things like vegetable shouldn’t have much of a sticking issue.
Another thing that you are paying for is fit and finish. These high end woks are simply beautifully. Where as the carbon steel woks will have lots of imperfection.
Most Expensive Wok List
Below, you will find a list of some of the most expensive wok. However, just because they’re expensive, does not mean they’re the best.
De Buyer 32 cm Copper Wok Prima Matera for Induction (Currently the Most Expensive)
This Copper Wok by De Buyer is beautiful and expensive. What sets them apart from the rest is that its induction compatible. If you have a powerful induction stove top, you can get similar heating performance that the professional use. The two loop handle also makes it easy to carry and transport the Wok. Its also made of stainless steel so that it will stay cool to the touch.
All-Clad 6414 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Open Stir Fry Pan (Most Expensive Stainless Cladded Wok)
No one does fully cladded cookware like All Clad. Their Copper Core line is one of the most reactive cookware on the market. It takes the benefit of copper and combine it with the durability of Stainless Steel. If done correctly, you can achieve the leidenfrost effect where nothing sticks. You can get professional Wok Like Experience using this wok. The loop carrying handle is a plus as well.
Le Creuset Enameled Cast Iron Signature Wok, 5.25 qt (Most Expensive Cast Iron Mode)
Since our home range are weak, a good alternative is to make the Wok Hot. Using cast iron, you can store a lot of heat into the Wok. This way, food wont steam and you get a nicely carmelized exterior. The added benefit to this wok is the beautiful color of Le Creuset Design. Handles are also wide and comfortable.
Mauviel 0 M’Heritage M’150B Copper Wok Pan, 11.8″ (My Personal Best)
Out of all the line up here, I would personally go with Mauviel. Nothing beats a simple copper and Stainless steel configuration. Its heats up fast and reacts quickly. Like the other stainless model, you can achieve leidenfrost effect and get a similar nonstick performance. Just wait until water dances around and sticking should be minimal.
These are some of the Most Expensive Woks on the market. They arent necessarily better than traditional wok, they just use better metal. However, the one thing that makes them inferior is sticking. Everything sticks! If you dont do it right, your dish will get ruined. Try stir frying noodles, you see how bad it is. With that being said, once you master the techniques like leidenfrost and carmelization, you can take full advantage of these woks. They just take practice. As of now, De Buyer is the most expensive. But I personally would go for Mauviel for its simple and effective construction.
Like your Wok? Get some accessories. Check out our article on the Best Wok Utensils.